At the 2012 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, BMW rider Simon Andrews secured the first ever podium finish for BMW at this event aboard the R 1000 RR-bred BMW HP4. While it ‘s no secret that it ‘s the combination of rider skill motorcycle capability that brings about racing wins, what ‘s often difficult to appreciate about an event like Macau is just how much more dangerous it is than say, a MotoGP race. Why? The course.

The Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix is not run on a motorcycle-optimized race track. This is a Formula 1 track — a track designed to be run by cars. Cars with elaborate safety cells and driver protection systems. There are no runoffs. There is no padding on those guard rails. It ‘s a few centimeters of armor and a few millimeters of leather between the riders and those barriers. So those men who are brave enough to pilot their ultra high performance motorcycles around the course at 9/10 are quite literally taking their lives (and the lives of their competitors) in their hands.

Yet that ‘s part of what makes this race and others like it (the Isle of Man TT comes to mind) so astounding to watch. In the video above, watch as the racers commit to the corners, their heads mere inches from the unforgiving guard rails. It puts into sharp perspective that BMW ‘s podium finish is as much a triumph of nerve as engineering.